What really happened in Las Vegas?

It has been awhile since the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1 that resulted in 59 deaths and over 500 injured. What is astonishing is that some major questions, such as the motives that Stephen Paddock might have had for his action, still remain obscure. But what is also disturbing is that more questions have opened up, suggesting that the police initially may have put out an incorrect timeline of the events, as Liz Posner writes.

Days after shooter Stephen Paddock killed 59 people and injured over 500, confusing details emerged. Journalists sparred with police at press conferences, grappling for missing details. The security guard who discovered Paddock in his hotel room with 24 guns and was shot by Paddock later disappeared, only to reemerge as a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. To shed light on this confusion, a new film, “What Happened in Vegas,” explores the role of the Las Vegas Police Department after the mass shooting. In short, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest coverups and corruption, as well as repeated police brutality within the force.

At the root of the problem, the film explains, is that the LVPD is run by a sheriff elected in large part by donations from MGM, the corporation that runs the Mandalay Bay hotel. According to the documentary, Las Vegas police changed their story multiple times on the timeline of the shooting. One important detail the police lied about in several instances is the timing of Paddock’s shooting of security guard Jesus Campos. Why? It’s likely that the LVPD wanted to help the casino’s legal case, and if they claimed Campos was killed while trying to prevent Paddock’s rampage, as opposed to during or after, it could help the casino’s lawyers later claim that the Mandalay Bay had taken sufficient action to stop him. At least seven news organizations have since sued the LVPD for failing to release all the information from the night of the shooting, including the New York Times, the Associated Press, ABC, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

Nothing ever seems to be straightforward when it comes to policing in the US.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    The sheriff just wants what happened to stay in Las Vegas, or the whole city faces false advertising charges.

  2. John Morales says

    Nothing ever seems to be straightforward when it comes to policing in the US.

    Not directly on-topic, but I see someone was shot dead in Wichita after someone sicced the police on them for a prank. Twitchy trigger finger, apparently.


  3. Holms says

    It just dawned on me that so much of what is wrong with America’s policing may come from (or at least, be enabled by) the fact that the head of a city’s police forse is chosen via election. Here in Australia, the chief of police is a lifetime police officer who rose through the ranks via grunt work, then additional training, then I presume some political schmoozing at the higher tiers. This all but guarantees the top cop will be someone that knows policing processes inside and out, and has had a career that for most of its duration was not political.

    Elections for the top position on the other hand mean the nominees will be selected according to whatever political issues are prevalent amongst that city, giving something of a reversal of the Australian system: the top cop is all but guaranteed to political in intent and methodology.

  4. file thirteen says

    Not convinced. Whenever a mass-murderer escapes questioning, people want to vent their frustration, and conspiracy theories abound.

    In this case the shooter committed suicide and can never be questioned as to their motives. So there are copious attempts to find other targets to blame: the spouse; the family; law enforcement, all because we don’t want to admit that our society is impotent when it comes to facing these situations.

    Undoubtably the police were less than perfect, but to imagine them as anywhere near capable and ready to deal with an event like that is simply unreasonable.

  5. Stephan Le Baud Roy says

    file thirteen, now that is a breath of fresh air thinking! I had to pick myself off the floor reading a coherent, logical, non inflammatory response in the comment section.

  6. Owlmirror says

    Comments 6 & 7 feel like astroturfing — bland and irrelevant platitudes that don’t address the salient points, and approval thereof. From where? Maybe the casino and/or police union legal team? Who can say?

    Undoubtably the police were less than perfect, but to imagine them as anywhere near capable and ready to deal with an event like that is simply unreasonable.

    This sounds so reasonable, but the article linked to doesn’t blame the police alone for how they dealt with the attack, but rather the system of casino and police together. The casino, it claims, had a different phone line for calls about problems with “high rollers” (wealthy gamblers), of which the shooter was known to be one, and used that line to report that the shooter had shot a security guard, and not that he was carrying out a mass murder from the window of his hotel room, thus leading to a different police response.

    In addition, the police were (as of the writing of the article) accused of withholding important information about what they did and when. If they had merely been overwhelmed by unforeseen circumstances, they would have no reason not to release the information and promise to review their processes and procedures. But they certainly seem to be covering up something — perhaps systemic corruption.

    It’s not the crime; it’s the cover-up.

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